In the six weeks before Khashoggi’s disappearance, MBS not only managed to anger the U.S. military-industrial complex but the world’s most powerful bankers.
by Whitney Webb
Amid a chorus of condemnation directed against his leadership following the slaying of controversial journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – popularly known by the moniker MBS – condemned Khashoggi’s murder in no uncertain terms on Wednesday, calling the deed a “heinous crime that cannot be justified” and promising “justice” for those who killed him. MBS’ statement came after dozens of media reports, the majority of which had cited anonymous sources from within the Turkish and U.S. governments, revealed the grisly details of the journalist’s final moments and the subsequent attempt by his killers to cover their tracks.
Yet, while MBS may expect the international calls for his ouster to lessen following his recent admission and apparent behind the scenes deal-making, he is likely mistaken. Indeed, much of the outrage directed at MBS for his alleged role in Khashoggi’s death has little to do with the murder itself, which is being used as a pretext to justify replacing MBS with a more “reliable” tyrant to serve as Saudi crown prince.
This is because the real reason the knives have come out for MBS is not a single extrajudicial killing – a practice the Saudis have long used with impunity – but instead the fact that, in the six weeks prior to Khashoggi’s sordid fate, MBS not only managed to anger the entire U.S. military-industrial complex, he also enraged the world’s most powerful financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup.
In a recent report on the Khashoggi affair, MintPress detailed how MBS had endangered the $110 billion weapons deal with the United States that Trump has often touted as proof that he is creating jobs and is a proven “deal maker.” However, far from a signed contract, the “deal” was instead a collection of letters of interest and letters of intent. Over a year since the deal was first announced, it has since become clear that MBS no longer intends to purchase all $110 billion, as shown by his decision to let the deadline pass on the purchase of the $15 billion Lockheed Martin THAAD missile system. The Saudis let that deadline come and go on September 30, just two days before Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and never came out.
However, it turns out that — a few weeks before the Lockheed deadline had come and gone — MBS had endangered another lucrative deal, one that was valued in the trillions and seems to have been a major factor in his rapid ascent to the powerful position of crown prince.